Pluto as a Planet on the Chopping Block
August 14, 2006 6:21 PM
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Around 2,500 scientists and astronomers are meeting in Prague to discuss Pluto
Pluto has been surrounded by controversy since it was spotted in 1930 by US astronomer Clyde Tombaugh. The main debate around the small planet is whether or not it truly qualifies to be a planet. To help settle the debate, or further complicate the situation, the International Astronomical Union
is going to meet to decide Pluto's fate
during a 12-day meeting. The 2,500 astronomers from 75 countries are meeting to speak about planets. As many as 14 "planet-like" bodies may need to be considered if the panel of scientists and astronomers decides that Pluto will remain a planet. One alternative that is being considered is for the union to demote Pluto into its own category -- which would leave Earth's solar system with only eight planets.
Large planet-like bodies located in the Kuiper belt has caused some confusion for astronomers. The largest body in the Kuiper belt, 2003 UB313, has a diameter of almost 1,490 kilometers, which is around 110 kilometers larger than Pluto's diameter. Along with 2003 UB313, there are several other bodies that could technically be classified as planets. The size, location, formation method and orbital characteristics may now be included in the new definition of a planet. The 10th major body in our solar system, for example, is
larger than Pluto
but has not been classified a planet either.
A new and easier way to define what a planet is will be released on Wednesday. The meeting in Prague opens today and is scheduled to last 12 days. Earlier this year scientists using the Hubble telescope discovered that Pluto has
two additional large orbiting bodies around it
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8/14/2006 7:36:32 PM
Fry: "Hey, as long as you don't make me smell Uranus." *laughs*
Leela: "I don't get it."
Professor: "I'm sorry, Fry, but astronomers renamed Uranus in 2620 to end that stupid joke once and for all."
Fry: "Oh. What's it called now?"
Professor: "Urectum. Here, let me locate it for you."
Fry: "Hehe, no, no, I think I'll just smell around a bit over here."
8/15/2006 9:24:37 AM
With depravity I break laws of gravity/ Blast past the atmosphere to the last frontier/ I go boldly through space and time/
The sky's the limit but they're limiting the sky
I break orbit by habit/ I ignite satellites and leave rings 'round the planet/ A flying ace like that beagle/
Neveretheless this alien remains illegial/ Cause their discovery don't cover me/ The immigrants been left in the cold to grow old and disintigrate/
DISCRIMINATE AGAINST THE DISTANT AND DISCLAIMERS/
'Cause small minds can't see past Uranus/ But I shun their race/ 'Cause stun's just a phrase/
and my odyssey runs in 2000 and 1 ways
And I can see clearly now like the Hubble/
Kicked off the shuttle/
Here's my rebuttal/
IT'S A PLANET
2 Skinnee J's. Anyone?
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